Kunitskaya arrives in DC on a two-fight win streak, the latter of those coming against Marion Reneau via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 146 back in March.
‘Foxy’ had to overcome a badly broken nose to see out the fight, later auctioning off her blood-spattered UFC jersey for charity.
ALSO ON RT.COMRussian UFC star Yana ‘Foxy’ Kunitskaya auctions ‘sexy bloody shirt’ to help autistic girlThe 30-year-old, who owns a 12-4-1NC record, says that the healing process for that injury affected her preparations ahead of the bout with Aspen – but for the better.
“Because my nose was broken, I couldn’t spar for a long time. I spent a lot of time wrestling and grappling, so I was kind of forced to spend a lot of time and improve in wrestling,” Kunitskaya said, via MMA Junkie.
That will likely come in handy in DC on Saturday night when she meets Ladd, a bantamweight contender renowned for her wrestling.
“I try to be ready for every situation not only wrestling. I’m ready for striking, or if the fight goes to the ground, I’ll be ready for that too,” Kunitskaya said.
Ladd, 24, will be looking to get herself back on track after suffering a TKO defeat just 16 seconds into her last outing against Germaine de Randamie – a first ever defeat in what was the US youngster’s ninth fight.
As fifth-ranked Ladd meets sixth-ranked Kunitskaya, both fighters know that victory on Saturday night in DC will add momentum to their claims for a title shot at 135lbs queen Amanda Nunes.
However, Kunitskaya, who has been preparing for the fight at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, says she is not getting ahead of herself.
“I’m focused 100 percent, but not looking over at the title shot or something, just focused on Aspen,” the Russian said.
UFC on ESPN 7 in Washington DC takes place at Capital One Arena, and is headlined by the heavyweight bout between Surinamese wrecking machine Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Dutch veteran Alistair Overeem.